Why the “Home Lookers List” is hard to obtain.

May 20, 2013

The answer is that you can ask your agent for a list of people that have looked at your home. That being said, not many agents may be willing or able to provide it. If they did, they could only provide a partial list. There are many possible reasons why this happens. Here are a few…

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Reader Question: Can I ask my real estate agent for a list of the people who have inspected my home?  Nan D.

Monty’s Answer: Hello Nan, and thanks for your question. The answer is that you can ask your agent for a list of people that have looked at your home.

That being said, not many agents may be willing or able to provide it. If they did, they could only provide a partial list. There are many possible reasons why this happens. Here are a few:

1. The prospect requested anonymity. It is very common for a buyer not to want their identity revealed. Tim Riordan, a real estate agent in Amherst, NY said, “ Loyalty includes protecting their identity”, when asked about giving out a buyer’s name.

2. A co-operating agent does not reveal a prospect’s name to the listing agent. In most markets, cooperative MLS showings are the norm. The listing agent is notified of a showing when a showing agent opens the electronic lockbox for the key, but they do not know the name of the customer that is with the agent. Katina Geralis, a real estate agent in Wilmington, Delaware, put it like this,” I respect the judgment of the cooperating agent bringing their client through the home.”

3. The agent does not want anyone else to know with whom he or she is working. The general thinking in the agent population is that the client is their livelihood, and as a matter of practice, they keep those names very “close to the vest.”

4. The agent fears a seller will call a buyer and bungle any potential deal. Sellers are occasionally known to attempt to take matters into their own hands. This is most often a turnoff or a signal of desperation to the buyer, and the outcome is rarely satisfactory.

5. A prospect may have provided a false name. Although not common, a customer will resort to a fake name for a variety of reasons. As an example, they had a poor experience with an agent overzealous in the follow-up department.

The “protected buyer” clause.

There is a point in time when a likely buyer’s name will come out. When a listing is about to expire, the listing agent will provide the names of lookers they have reason to believe are still candidates for the house. This is usually a short list and not representative of all the parties that looked at the home. It can take some effort to obtain these names from other agents, and only if the agent believes the client may still be interested. If re-listing with a different agent, a seller and agent must make certain not to open up the possibility of dual commissions.

This list is part of a “protected buyer clause” for their commission from the seller if a buyer decides to buy after the listing has expired. Most states allow a broker 6 months to a year of commission protection if certain steps are taken at the time the listing expires or shortly thereafter. Each state has pre-printed real estate contracts with similar, but modified language. According to Chris Bowers, a real estate agent in Phoenix, Arizona, the listing agent and the seller negotiate the term of the protected buyer clause with each listing.

Circumstances create attitudes.

Real estate is an ultra-competitive business. It takes a fair amount of time and effort to identify consumers entering the market to buy or sell a home. Then it often takes more time for a relationship to develop.

There are many tactics utilized in the real estate business designed to test those loyalties, some of which are quite shocking. As a recent example, there have been numerous published news articles nationally about the practice of re-directing an agent’s website traffic to a competitor’s website. It is easy to see why agents are so protective of their customers’ identities.

I hope this information is helpful, Nan. Ask me other questions.